Playing House: LOST; PG. Post-series AU. In which Richard and Miles spend a thrilling afternoon together paying bills. Prompt used: "have a character pay bills".
When it came to paying the bills in what was now known colloquially as Casa Desde Desmond, since the Los Angeles home had once been a property of Hume's bitter father-in-law, Charles Widmore, the duty fell upon the shoulders of Miles and Richard. They were expected to sort everything out.
It made sense. Between Alpert's off-shore bank accounts and stock portfolio that he’d maintained for his Jacob-related activities, and the profit Miles made off of the diamonds he took with him from the island, it was their money that would keep the house lights on for the next fifty years.
The problem was, every time Miles and Richard got together to sort out the house bills, there was always some expense that just didn't make sense. Or, as was their luck this month, most of them.
"I'm confused." Miles squinted at a sheath of paper underneath the kitchen lights. "How did our electricity bill jump up two hundred dollars this month?"
Richard peered over his reading glasses. His eyes were beginning to age, along with the rest of his body, and he needed them to overcome his newfound sight issues, much to the amusement of his housemates. "Between you, me, Frank, Sawyer, and Kate, we've been using a lot lately. And then there's the new computer room upstairs, and the guest rooms we keep open for Claire and the others."
"And that stupid pinball machine Lapidus brought in last week."
"Aaron likes it."
"Aaron is, like, five years old? They all like loud, shiny stuff at that age." Miles huffed. "Okay, so that's almost four hundred dollars down for electricity. Do you want me to deal with the water bill?"
Richard reached forward and took the blue notice sitting on top of Miles' stack of papers. "My supposed sea-related traumas do not extend to public utilities. Especially ones that run through toilets."
Miles shuffled through the stack, trying to make sense of the numbers. "The Internet bill—I can't even look at it. Can't we just buy out Google Fiber and run it through the house?"
"Only if you want to live on instant noodles and crackers for the next five years."
"Oh boy," Miles said sarcastically. "Sounds like college all over again."
"And right now, it's our only way to contact the Dharma Initiative computers still on the island, so we can't just not pay."
"And here's Kate's court fees... and Sawyer's court fees... and Frank's court fees —are we paying these too?"
"But Sawyer never pays us back for anything!"
"Don't worry about Sawyer," Richard said in a tone he usually reserved for Benjamin Linus when the other man got out of hand. "He'll pay soon enough."
Miles gulped. "Hey, man, I know you used to work for Jacob, and you did some weird stuff with the others—but don't off Sawyer and drop him into the harbor, okay?"
"Of course not." Richard blinked over his glasses. "I meant I was keeping a running tally of his dues and will be presenting him with his full bill before too long. Did you think I was an immortal island gangster for Jacob?"
"Would it be bad if I said yes?"
"Depends on if you want to be fitted for cement shoes."
"Damn, Alpert, I can't tell if you're joking or if you're already planning to throw me into the water."
Richard grinned. "Don't worry, I'm too old to be tossing people anywhere. Your feet are safe."
"I still can't get over the fact that you're older than Frank. Speaking of which, I believe this is yours." Miles handed over an envelope with the AARP logo in glaring red.
"Oh, joy. And now I'll be able to pass as fifty plus." He referred to the strokes of gray which were slowly growing into his dark hair.
The last time he spoke to Hurley, over the computer's video camera, the other man had said Alpert would soon be looking like a certain Marvel magician with the same hairstyle. Richard was sure that in a month or so, young Reyes would be referring to him as Doctor Strange on a regular basis —and so would Sawyer, if he ever caught on.
And that is when, as if on perfect cue, Sawyer's voice drifted down into the kitchen. "Hey, has anyone seen my car keys? Did someone swipe 'em?"
Frank's voice immediately shot back from the den. "Yeah, I drove your truck into a pit last night."
"Shut up, pilot!" Heavy footsteps announced Sawyer's arrival downstairs, framed in the doorway of the kitchen as though he was posing for a photo shoot. "Hello, kids. Having fun playing house?"
Miles waved one of Sawyer's traffic tickets at him. "You could help, you know."
"What, and break up this adorable tea party?" Sawyer smirked. "Nope. I've got a hot date with a certain little lady and I can't be late."
Richard sighed. "If I lend you the keys to my Corvette, will you promise not to get into any trouble with it?"
"Of course!" Sawyer looked half-offended at the suggestion.
"And please, if Clementine makes a mess on my seats, clean it up?"
"Sure thing, Hoss." Sawyer quickly caught the keys that Richard tossed his way and beat a hasty retreat out of the kitchen.
Miles stared at Richard. Richard stared back.
"You're never going to make Sawyer pay back all that money, are you?"
Richard smiled and went back to his papers, as usual answering nothing and everything at the same time. In that moment, life was good and expensive and still worth living.
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